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Horizontal shoulder holster and concealment

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Soybomb, Jan 20, 2006.

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  1. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    So I'm probably going to regret it based on most people's stories but I think I have to try a shoulder holster. I think I'd find it more comfortable and easier to reach while seated or driving. At 6'3" and a big build I think I may have a chance at concealing it effectively too. For IWB I find the length of the grip is what I have the most problem with, it really want to print. Length of the slide doesn't seem to matter too much.

    How about for a horizontal shoulder holster. I'm thinking either my p99c, which will have a short barrel and grip, but I'd also be open to the thin 1076 if the longer barrel and grip won't be much harder to conceal. I'm guessing muzzle printing at the back is the problem. Is it dumb to even think it might be possible with a tshirt, then holster, then unbuttoned shirt on over it could do it?
     
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    It's possible.

    Most horizontal shoulder holsters allow adjusting the harness assembly to allow the holster to ride farther forward, or to allow tilting the barrel end upward slightly.

    Either or a combination of both can allow the gun to ride without "printing" so bad.

    Being big is an advantage.
    Printing of the grip is not a problem, only the muzzle.

    Depending on the shirt, this can work quite well.

    Around here a lot of laborer and service and maintenance people wear tee shirts with an unbuttoned heavy flannel work shirt over that.
    Depending on the gun, your build, and the holster, most people will never notice, especially as long as you do your part by not stretching or bending in such as way as to cause the muzzle to print.
     
  3. doubleaes2

    doubleaes2 Member

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    Soybomb,

    I'm a big guy too, 6'4", 325. I carry a 1911 in a horizontal shoulder rig. The holster is adjusted all the way up to my armpit, and the muzzle is adjusted to be about one inch higher than the grip end of the gun. I have no problem printing and the gun is very comfortable to carry. If you haven't picked out a rig yet, get one with the widest straps possible, and then have your significant other help you to fit it.


    edited to replace vertical with horizontal--i had a brain fart.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  4. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

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    Soybomb, don't make the mistake of purchasing a horizontal rig...They look good pictured in the magazines, but in actuality, they print something awful...I tried every way to adjust the rig, but the damn butt of the pistol/revolver would print through my outerwear, usually a sport coat.
    Like Doubleas2, I wear my vertical closer to the armpit area, totally comfortable and will not show....No one will ever know you are carrying...:uhoh: P.S. I'm tall too....:D
    [​IMG]
     
  5. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    I carry my 1911 in a horizontal shoulder holster when I am going to spend most of the day either driving or walking around in a jacket.

    I find it a very comfortable and convenient method.

    I really don't understand why this carry method gets ragged on so much.

    With a 5" 1911, I don't find that I print any more than any other carry method.
     
  6. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    Interesting answers so far, thanks guys! I'm thinking probably an alessi bodyguard if I go horizontal since they seem to get a lot of really good reviews.

    I'm still torn on the gun theres the thin 1076 with its 4.25" barrel but pretty large beaver tail makes it longer overall than the p99. The p99 is a bit shorter but doublestack 9mm might be a little thick. Hmmm Its really a shame there isn't a holster rental place :D

    Sounds like I need to consider going vertical though.
     
  7. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    I am 6'2" and a good 220 (not fat or anything, just a big guy). I carry an HK USP .45 Compact in a Galco SSII horizontal rig with the dual mag pouch on the strong side. A few things:

    Do not listen to those that say they print. They don't. It's just like any other carry method, dress around your rig and you are fine. I have found that button down flannel type shirts and thicker dress shirts (short and long sleeved) are the perfect companion for shoulder rigs. The little lady and I cut off the regular buttons and picked up some snap buttons (like you would find on old cowboy style shirts) and replaced them with those. They come in different colors and sizes and are easy to put on...they also don't have to look like cowboy buttons. In fact, no one so far has been able to tell that these buttons were not supposed to be on my shirts and are actually quite surprised when they find out what they are.

    The upside to those buttons is, I can draw form my rig into a modified Weaver stance as fast as most folks I know can draw from an IWB rig behind their hip. I can draw sitting in a car, on the couch, wherever.

    The Galco SSII has WIDE straps, you should check it out. www.galcogunleather.com

    Wear the rig as high into your armpit as you can and still be comfortable. If you do this, the tie-downs are not usually necessary. Since I began wearing my rig (changed from standard IWB carry), I have converted 2 religiously IWB carriers into the Galco rig. :D

    I can wear mine under a loose t-shirt and still draw easily as well, and if I go out with a jacket on, no cover garment is necessary, the rig is under my jacket, over my shirt. I keep a spare button-down shirt in the car incase I go somewhere that I will want to take my jacket off (to eat) in case I am not wearing the cover garment. If I need to run to the store and I am in sweatpants or pants without belt loops, I don't worry, I just throw my rig on and go. Freedom is bliss.

    I'll tell ya what, when I get up in the AM, I will have my lady take some pics of me with the gun and without using various shirts and I will let you decide if you can tell which is which and if the rig prints or not. I'll post them tomorrow evening if I can.
     
  8. Glocker

    Glocker Member

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    I've been thinking of a shoulder rig myself... but has anyone had a horizontal shoulder rig and have there handgun fall out onto the ground? It seems like that might be a problem.
     
  9. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    Sounds great, my usual style of dress is a tshirt and an open buttondown
    [​IMG]
    It sounds like unless its windy outside I might even be able to keep it unbuttoned.
     
  10. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    Two words, "thumb break".

    Tow more, "adjustable tension".


    I have hung upside down in the rafters running network cables for 5 hours straight, the gun didn't even flinch. It won't come out until you want it to. :cool:
     
  11. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    You should be fine. I am guessing you wear a 2XL or 3XL shirt? You might want to roll up to 1 size higher as you buy new clothes (for comfort). I wear a 2XL for a perfect fit sans the gun, but the extra width across the chest and back that a 3XL gives me makes things bit more comfortable, especially if it is warm. Also, the thinner or more flimsy (has a tendency to hang and drape) a material is, the larger the shirt needs to be. Stiffer cotton or blends are perfect.

    Because of the way a properly fitted rig should drape down from your shoulders, wearing the shirt open is fine as long as there is no wind. Or try buttoning it up only partially.

    My lady, who is keen and observant used to be able to spot me carrying IWB all the time. When I switched to the shoulder rig, she has to ask sometimes (even though she knows I always carry, I mean always). Just today I had my rig under a t-shirt, when I came home and took my jacket off, a few minutes later she asked nervously, "where's your gun?!?!". I was wearing it the same way I always do. ;)

    Sometimes she hugs me and she cannot tell (she's 5"1 and 3/4" so, you know, hehe).
     
  12. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

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    Since I see some of you are having success with your horizontal rigs, I will defer my opinion to that of having "one bad experience". I really liked the idea of grabbing the gun from that position, but the rig from El Paso Saddlery was "one POS" that turned me off.
    However, having a "thumb break" hasn't worked for me in terms of many styles of carry holsters. Notice what I am about to say: make sure you check out the inner snap on all thumb breaks so they are not snagging on your gun during withdrawal. I've found some that are not designed correctly, even on the so-called name brands...This defect can be catastrophic where time might be of essence. Again, some holsters are fine: but check them out.....
    One more point about "thumb breaks" that needs to be addressed. When it is pressure time, "the moment", and you miss the thumb break and attempt to muscle the gun free: a panic grab for your gun could be fatal...:(
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2006
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I guess if I lived in Alaska. South Texas, however, you'd sure have to stay in the AC...:D I have worn horizontal shoulder rigs on cold days wade fishing. With enough coat on, it can conceal a P90 Ruger. I've only used it a couple of times wade fishing in fridged temps in my 5mm neoprene waders. IWB isn't really possible with waders on, but normally when it's that cold I'm like Ron White, "it's really early in the morning, it's really cold, and I don't wanna go...":D
     
  14. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    As far as retention goes I hear alessi will do either a thumb break over the rear, or some sort of pull through snap that goes through the trigger guard. A good pull of the guy is supposed to release the snaps, but still offer retention. Sounds neat at least although I'd like to hear from a couple that have it.

    I'm still debating the 1076, at about 7.75" from tip to tip I'm thinking it might make me look like I have beavertail nipples. :eek:
     
  15. BigRedBowtie

    BigRedBowtie Member

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    Soybomb- I'm 6'4" and 275. I quite frequently carry a 5" 1911 in an Alessi Bodyguard with the pull-through snap.

    Tie-downs were mentioned, so I'll give some brief input there- I found the tie-down useless.

    The pull-thru is interesting; I wasn't sure about it at first- the idea of intentionally putting something in the trigger guard of a single-action auto made me nervous. Well, it hasn't gone off on me so far, and with the short trigger on my gun, I have to REALLY TRY to make any sort of contact with the trigger face, and I'm not sure I could trip it even if I wanted to. It can be a little tricky to get the gun in, as I seem to have to spread the snaps for it to slide cleanly into place, then snap it. I've only had one retention issue when I didn't snap the snap fully. Once snapped, a firm tug pops it loose.

    The harness is made from wide, soft leather over the shoulders, and narrows to pretty thin strips elsewhere. The thin harness doesn't even print through a dress shirt. I have carried with it under a tucked-in dress shirt, and got patted down by one of my closest friends who KNOWS I don't go unarmed, and thought it unusual that I was tucked-in without a coat. You'd want to stick with meduim-to-dark colored dress shirts so that the color variation can't be seen. (white shirts need not apply).

    I usually go with a colored t-shirt and an unbuttoned 2XLT "chamois" shirt from Gander Mountain. YOU CAN'T TELL that there's a gun there. The unbuttoned shirt really helps to keep the back from getting tight. It can also be worn under a fleece pullover, hoodie, regular jacket, suit jacket, or windbreaker. VERY versatile.

    For those in warmer climates: I have made a wonderful addition to my carry wardrobe that I have to share. Slugger jackets. They are a short-sleeved, pullover, lightweight windbreaker- intended as baseball warm-ups. On the days I don't wear an unbuttoned flannel, (or in the summer) I toss the slugger jacket over the top and am good to go. The nylon is a more rigid material and doesn't conform very well to anything, so it doesn't print at all. It works well for IWB/OWB carry, too.

    Back to buying a bodyguard- go for it. But... you might have to let the bodyguard choose the gun for you rather than you choosing a gun for the bodyguard. From what I understand, Alessi is months behind on orders, and only mainstream models are stocked at the dealers. I got mine at http://www.lightningarms.com/ and they were fantastic people to deal with. Not cheap, mind you, but it was at my door in three days- no complaints there. I have since purchased from them again. I called for my XD, and they didn't stock it, but they had 1911 in when I needed it.

    All-in-all... I wouldn't give up my shoulder rig for anything. I'd gladly pay the $175 or whatever it was to have such a versatile method of carry. Also, if belt-carry irritated your back, like it did for me- you might find shoulder carry a huge relief.
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've been using Galco's new vertical miami/SBII rig that they developed for airline pilots. I find it conceals far better than ordinary horizontal rigs. IWB has never been practical for me because I only wear belted pants part of the day at most. Jeans and the like are a fool's clothing in this climate in the winter, and ploy snow pant's don't have the rigidity to hold an IWB rig.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. rero360

    rero360 Member

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    well how about for us skinny guys? I'm 5'10" and about 150, my waist is like 30 inches but my chest is around 54 inches, I'm a bit barrel chested, what would be a good shoulder rig for me, I have a 5" 1911, I carry it no prob iwb but I'd like to get a shoulder rig, would it be possible for me? I'm also thinking about getting a XD somepoint this year hopefully
     
  18. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    Pics may have to wait until tomorrow, we'll see how my camera acts in a bit...having some probs hehe.
     
  19. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    rero360, I have the same problem as you. I'm 6'1" and 180 lbs. Have no chest to speak of, but a bit of a beer gut. Skinny arms, too.

    What that means is that both the grip and the muzzle will print for me. I tried vertical shoulder rigs, but found that the grip printed like crazy. The horizontal rig is, for me, something of a compromise.

    Still, it's only something I can wear in cooler weather, when I can have enough clothing on to prevent printing.

    In warm weather, it's back to an IWB holster. That's a shame, because the shoulder rig is much more comfortable for me, since most of my time is spent sitting or driving.
     
  20. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    As an old Miami Vice fan, I purchased one of the original Galco "Miami Classic" horizontal rigs for Commander-length 1911s ... First time I packed with it, under an lightweight "Member's Only" jacket (hey, it was the '80s, okay?), every single one of my buddies that I encountered that day all said, "Hey, you got yerself a Sonny Crockett rig ..." Needless to say, I was so mindful of how badly the set-up printed, I've only used it since under puffy down jackets or under sports jackets and overcoats ... And I've got a 47-inch chest and decent size arms, so I sure don't think anyone wouldn't have noticed Don Johnson packin' either his SIG 220, a Bren 10 or a S&W .45 autoloader under a silk Armani blazer ... I just don't think they're effective concealment rigs under anything but winter clothing. The straps can print something awful, too -- not just the muzzle poking out under one's armpit ...

    OTOH, I can conceal a 4" N-frame .357 in a vertical should rig without my wife immediately noticing. But, for my money, IWB or a high-rise, close-fitting OWB pancake is the best concealment options available for anything up to a 4" revolver or 5" 1911.
     
  21. Inline_6

    Inline_6 Member

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    I concur.. if you are the right size (I am 6ft 2" tall) it can easily be done. Some shirts and jackets won't work as cover garments bcz they are tapered, but you'll just have to find the ones that will.

    Also, if you don't anchor your rig to your belt (I don't find it comfortabley anyway) you can wear a collared, button down shirt over the rig and tuck it in. It is slower to get to, but you can rip the shirt open if it's a real emergency. It is great though bcz nobody would think you are carrying a gun, much less a 1911 and two spares. :D

    I currently use a Miami Classic to hide my Para P14, but am planning to replace it with the Monarch bcz it has better features (strap across the back to keep the gun from moving) and options. Plus, Mr Andrews makes all my IWBs, which if you are having an issue finding a good one I recommend trying as well.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

    http://www.andrewsleather.com/monarch.htm

    http://www.andrewsleather.com/monarch_opts.htm

    http://www.andrewsleather.com/macdaniel2.htm
     
  22. megatronrules

    megatronrules Member

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    Since we're talking shoulder holsters here I was wondering if anyone here has used a galco "explorer" vertical shoulder holser with the SSII harness to carry a 5" 1911? I am considering buying one of these and need feedback from users any info on this holster would be great thanks.
     
  23. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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  24. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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    Okay, here are the images in the next few posts. Decide if you can tell which shirts I am carrying the rig in and which you can’t.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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  25. NineseveN

    NineseveN member

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